These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 17, 2010.
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Ex-Spanish PM: If Israel goes down, we all go down
A tip of the chapeau to Kendra who spotted this U.K. Times op-ed by former Spanish PM , Jose Maria Aznar. This Ynet news headline bespeaks of Israel's isolation by appeasing government and leaders n the EU and in Washington: "In Times op-ed, José Maria Aznar asks West to remember Israel its only ally in 'turbulent' region." Will the spineless, feckless media and governments in the West heed former Spanish PM Aznar warning: "if Israel fails, we all fail". Read what he has to say here.
Note this Ynet report about Aznar's London Times message in a troubled time and his role in the Israeli Flotilla investigation.
José Maria Aznar, former prime minister of Spain, published an opinion article with the London Times Thursday saying the world must support Israel because "if it goes down, we all go down".
Aznar, who has joined the 'Friends of Israel' campaign to which David Trimble, a foreign observer taking part in Israel's flotilla raid probe, also belongs, calls on Europe to refuse to put up with cries to eliminate Israel as part of global Christian-Jewish cooperation.
"Anger over Gaza is a distraction. We cannot forget that Israel is the West’s best ally in a turbulent region," Aznar writes of the IDF's calamitous raid on a flotilla bound for Gaza on May 31.
"Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology," he adds.
"It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East," he writes. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly."
Aznar concludes by saying that Israel is the West's first line of defense against the chaos set to erupt in the Middle East, and therefore must be protected.
"Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large," he adds.
Aznar says the real threat to the region is extreme Islamism, "which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfillment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony".
However, he says, "62 years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace."
The former prime minister calls on the world to "blow away the red mists of anger" and take a "reasonable and balanced approach" based on the fact that Israel was created by a decision of the UN and therefore unquestionably a legitimate state.
Aznar also criticizes Turkey, to which the Marmara belonged, for placing Israel "in an impossible situation" in which it would have to either give up its security or face world condemnation.
"In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the 'Mavi Marmara' would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship."
Could Germany Conceivably Send Brodsky To Dubai? Is Germany Still In Its (We Once Allowed Ourselves To Believe) Right Mind?
George Jonas, National Post · Wednesday, Jun. 16, 2010
On Jan. 19 this year a man named Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, described as a terrorist by Israel, was throttled in a Dubai hotel room. His killers, say Dubai officials, were Israeli agents. Dubai alleges that a travelling circus of Mossad assassins, 26 or more, participated in the hit, utilizing British, French, Irish, German and Australian passports.
Whether or not it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly seems to take one to put down a terrorist. A hit team of 26 sounds like overkill, though we should assume most were only roadies, pitching tents and picking up after the elephant. Given all the paperwork involved, 26 may not even have been the full complement.
On June 4, an Israeli citizen travelling under the name of Uri Brodsky was arrested by Polish border guards on arrival at Warsaw airport. The Poles were acting on German information that Brodsky had assisted the hit team in Dubai by helping to obtain a German passport for one of their members. Now the Germans want Poland to extradite the Israeli, so they can put him on trial for whatever role he played, if any, in obtaining a passport in Cologne for another person under the name of Michael Bodenheimer to travel to Dubai for the alleged purpose of participating in the hit.
The Israelis oppose the request for all the obvious reasons, but especially because they fear that Brodsky may end up being tried in Dubai. Indeed, news agency reports this week indicate that Dubai, after initially saying it had no interest in seeking Brodsky's extradition, is now changing its tune. The Gulf News quotes Dubai Police Chief Lieutenant-General Dahi Khalfan Tamim saying that a request for extradition may follow evidence showing a "direct link to the assassination on our soil."
There was a time when Dubai's request wouldn't have had a snowball's chance in hell, but hell offers air conditioning these days and modern snowballs are heat-resistant. In our topsy-turvy times of global warming and infernal cooling, an allegation of counterterrorism can get a person extradited faster than an allegation of terrorism. It's still unlikely that Germany would send an Israeli to an Arab country to be tried, but it's no longer unthinkable.
When it comes to certain policies, of which counterterrorism is one, some countries do the heavy lifting, while others sit on the fence or their moral high horses, content to reap the benefits of what they disdain to do. Israel and the United States are examples of the first kind; Canada and the European Union are examples of the second. Occasionally a country will do with gusto everything it unctuously condemns when another country does it. While Russia is hypocrisy's past master, and Great Britain's epithet "perfidious Albion" is well earned, no culture does sanctimony with more elan than the one that gave us Moliere's Tartuffe and the French Foreign Legion. Still, sheikhdoms that wax indignant about targeted assassinations on their soil, after turning their soil into safe havens for terrorists, remain contenders for sanctimony's top honours.
Like Dubai, among others.
What do we know? We don't know if it was Mossad that throttled al-Mabhouh -- I'm assuming it was -- but we do know al-Mabhouh. In addition to being a founder of Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by Canada, the EU and the U.S., he was its chief weapons procurer. As such, al-Mabhouh was complicit in the killing or wounding of some 2,000 Israelis over the years, including schoolchildren. The Arab victims of the in-fighting between Hamas and other Palestinian factions haven't been tabulated yet.
We may know about Brodsky's detention only because German intelligence officials leaked it to the press. The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND, the German Mossad) may have feared that if they didn't shine the media spotlight on the matter, the Poles might say "thanks for the tip," then quietly ship Brodsky back to Israel. The administrative systems of friendly powers often settle touchy matters behind the scenes, without fanfare. This becomes politically difficult once the media get into the act.
Don't the media keep officials honest? Yes and no. Contrary to popular belief, transparency isn't always in the public interest. Limelight keeps officials playing to the gallery. Absent the need for posturing, bureaucracies can and often do act with dispatch and quiet efficiency.
Few if any countries endorse extrajudicial actions, such as targeted killings, not even when they engage in them. But they're aware of the paradox that killing saves lives -- targeted killing, that is, by smart agents or smart bombs. People try to choose the lesser of two evils, which until now meant picking James Bond, the agent licensed to kill, over Goldfinger.
But Goldfinger's well-oiled propaganda machine hasn't been idle. The Manichean certainties of the 20th century are subtly morphing into the nuanced -- Obamafied? -- uncertainties of the 21st. In an era where shades of grey replace primary colours, will democracies that resist terrorists extradite counterterrorists to autocracies that shelter them? Maybe. If moral equivalence is here, can moral confusion be far behind?
More on the Murfreesboro Mosque: Local concern provokes hearing
On the heels of publishing an NER interview with Pete Doughtie, publisher of The Rutherford Reader, apparently local concerns about the approval of the 52,000 square foot proposed Islamic center forced the Rutherford County Planning Commission to devote time to hear complaints about this giant development in the buckle of the Bible belt. Late yesterday, the Planning Commission responded to these concerns and announced they would devote time this evening to hear these concerns. This followed the May 24th approval of the plans for the Mosque with complaints of lack of adequate public notice and minimal due diligence about how the proposed development will be funded. When we went on to the Mufreesboro website, we note that the Murfreesboro Islamic Center paid $320,000 for the land in November 2009. Laurie Cardozo Moore of PJTN issued a call for local area activists to attend and voice concerns about the proposed project.
In early 2009, the Murfreesboro Islamic Center and leftist allies held a protest against the Israeli incursion in Gaza and in support of Hamas before the Rutherford County Court House. Watch this YouTube video, here.
Nashville WSMV TV Channel Four just issued this report about the Rutherford Planning Commission hearing regarding the controversial Murfreesboro Mosque. We will be doing a follow up film interview with Doughtie about his predicament and these latest developments in Murfreesboro that will be put up on You Tube and linked via the NER Facebook page.
Proposed Mosque Causes Frustration Among Residents
Public Meeting Scheduled For Thursday Night
POSTED: 5:37 am CDT June 17, 2010
UPDATED: 6:20 am CDT June 17, 2010
MURFREESBORO -- Murfreesboro residents will have the chance to speak out tonight about a proposed mosque coming to their neighborhood. The Islamic Center wants to build a new facility on Veals Road, but many residents said the center is unwelcome.
In January, the sign promoting the future center was vandalized with the words "Not Here" spray painted on it. However, the site was officially approved back in May.
Residents are expected to meet with the Board of Commissioners Thursday night to express their frustration with that decision. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the County Courthouse on the Public Square.
For more information on the controversy, visit www.dnj.com
Egyptian Actor In Danger For Having Behaved Normally (In Italian)
From the Corriere della Sera:
Punizione per l'attore egiziano
La colpa? Un abbraccio all'israeliana
Nabawy rischia la sospensione. «Non doveva farlo»
GERUSALEMME — Galeotto fu l’abbraccio. «Khaled, guarda qui!». Flash. «Liraz, vòltati!». Raffica di scatti. Un mese fa, un po’ imbarazzati, i due sorridevano sulla Croisette. Lui impomatato e incravattato. Lei coi capelli sciolti sulle spalle scoperte. Lui egiziano: attore impegnato nella politica e dai contratti con la tv di Stato. Lei israeliana: attrice trasferita a Hollywood e con un breve passato di cantante. Khaled al-Nabawy e Liraz Charhi si godevano il loro minuto di red carpet, a Cannes. Due belle particine di fratello e sorella in Fair Game, l’ultimo film con Sean Penn e Naomi Watts, storia di Spy&Iraq. «Abbracciatevi!», aveva gridato alla fine un paparazzo: e loro s’erano abbracciati. Senza pensarci troppo. Senza immaginare che quella foto, rimbalzata su tutti i siti mediorientali, pubblicata su tutti i giornali arabi, avrebbe scatenato l’ira. E sarebbe costata il posto.
GELO AL CAIRO - Secondo copione, a rimetterci è stato il povero Nabawy. Che è tornato al Cairo, dove vive, e s’è trovato circondato dal gelo. I contratti rivisti. Qualche telefono muto. «Mi hanno messo sotto processo», s’è sfogato col suo agente. Letteralmente: il Sindacato attori egiziani, potente corporazione governativa, ha aperto un’inchiesta su quel film e su quell’abbraccio. Accusa: «Normalizzazione dei rapporti con Israele», attività ancora punibile nonostante trent’anni di pace firmata fra i due Paesi. Nabawy sarà interrogato nei prossimi giorni dal leader del sindacato, Ashraf Zaki: «Gli chiederò se sapeva, prima di firmare per la parte, che la Charhi era una cittadina americana d’origine israeliana e che aveva prestato due anni di servizio nell’esercito sionista». Nel caso la risposta non soddisfi la commissione interna, l’attore riceverà una lunga sospensione. E a 39 anni — nel mezzo d’una carriera che l’ha fatto recitare con Ridley Scott, girare film sulla repressione in Libano, ricevere premi panafricani —, per lavorare (e per un bel po’) dovrà cambiare aria.
LA PASSERELLA CONTESTATA - Cose d’Egitto. Dov’è normale che le associazioni d’artisti decidano che cosa va bene. Qualche settimana fa, l’Unione dei musicisti ha ottenuto che «l’ateo e omosessuale» Elton John cancellasse la data del suo concerto. Ancora più delicato, se si parla d’Israele. In un Paese dove il ministro della Cultura minacciò di bruciare i libri in ebraico; dove la settimana scorsa è stato negato il visto al rettore dell’università di Haifa, ospite d’un congresso accademico, in risposta alla porta sbattuta in faccia dagl’israeliani a Noam Chomsky; dove una sentenza della Corte suprema cairota ha tolto la cittadinanza agli egiziani che sposino israeliani. La passerella di Cannes, no, non poteva passare: «Sono sicura che la foto non c’entra nulla», dice Liraz, 32 anni, discendenze iraniane: «Nabawy sapeva già che avrebbe pagato il prezzo per questa nostra collaborazione sullo schermo... ». E come fa a dirlo? «Perché Doug Liman, il regista, per quel ruolo aveva già ingaggiato un altro attore egiziano, prima di Nabawy. Ma poi erano arrivate minacce e quest’attore, saputo che nel cast c’ero io, s’era dovuto ritirare: disse che altrimenti avrebbe smesso di lavorare in tutto il mondo arabo. A quel punto, ero sicura che a rimetterci sarei stata io, che m’avrebbero lasciata a casa. E invece è arrivato Nabawy: un attore vero, un uomo, un professionista che veniva sul set solo per fare il suo mestiere».
SCIOCCATA - Liraz è scioccata: «Lavorare insieme non è sembrato strano a nessuno dei due. E a Cannes, quando ci hanno fatti sedere vicini, non ci abbiamo fatto gran caso. Khaled non ha detto nulla nemmeno quando ci han fatto quelle foto. Io lo sapevo che qualcuno si sarebbe arrabbiato. Ma credevo che, vedendoci insieme, passasse anche un altro tipo di messaggio. Non potevo immaginare una simile ostilità. E che l’avrebbero addirittura messo alla porta». C’è un film di qualche anno fa, La Banda: la storia di un’orchestrina della polizia egiziana che arriva in Israele per suonare e invece finisce dimenticata, da qualche parte, in un angolo di deserto nel Negev... In questi giorni, Liraz ha provato a cercare Khaled, senza trovarlo: «Mi spiace. Sognavamo un’altra musica».
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Nine foreigners and a Malaysian arrested for alleged terrorist activity planned to blow up two places of worship here because they felt the government was not doing enough to uphold Islam, a newspaper reported Thursday.
The report in the New Straits Times raises concerns that Islamic extremists may be trying to establish roots in this Muslim-majority country that has been almost entirely free of terrorist violence. Malaysia's success in keeping extremism at bay has been attributed to its highly efficient police intelligence force and a population that largely believes in moderate Islam even though some Malaysians have joined the Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional terror group linked to al-Qaida.
Among the 10 people arrested in January was the plot leader Aiman al-Dakkak, a Syrian university lecturer, who held weekly Islamic classes at a home near Kuala Lumpur. The newspaper said the 45-year-old al-Dakkak was seeking to recruit members for al-Qaida and Jemaah Islamiyah.
The arrests were made public earlier this year, but the Times report reveals details of their alleged activities for the first time. . . all nine foreigners — four Syrians including al-Dakkak, two Yemenis, two Nigerians and a Jordanian — were deported in April and were detained by their governments.
The Times quoted its sources as saying that the 10 men targeted the places of worship in northern Penang and central Selangor states. They felt the government was not doing enough to uphold Islam in this country, it said. The report did not specify what kind of places of worship were targeted. About a third of Malaysians are ethnic Chinese and Indians, who mainly practice Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. Some 60 per cent of the country's 28 million people are Muslim Malays.
The newspaper said most of the nine foreigners were students at universities here. They came from various backgrounds. Some of their parents are professors, doctors, ambassadors, police officers and lecturers. They entered Malaysia using student visas and some were sponsored by their governments. Among the courses they registered for were English, Shariah Law, engineering and mass communications, the Times said.
Al-Dakkak, who entered Malaysia on a student visa in 2003, had met al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden several times, the newspaper said, citing intelligence reports. "Aiman (al-Dakkak) wanted to set up a base here in Malaysia as the country's geographical location was ideal, and the people here were generally friendly and unsuspecting in nature," the Times quoted a source as saying.